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Top 10 Fashion & Textiles

1. Man’s cloak band, Needle lace c.1635

This is a falling band, a separate collar, known as a cloak band in the 17th century, as it spread widely over the shoulders. It is linen
with linen cutwork and the outer band is geometric lace.  Superb skill is shown here in depicting natural forms like the poppy heads, lilies and leaves. This item was borrowed by HM The Queen in 2013 for the exhibition 'In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion' at The Queens's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

Linen, cutwork and geometric needle lace said by Arthur Blackborne to have belonged to King Charles I.


Blackborne Collection 28  Read More

2. Wide needle lace border from a window drape, Venetian c.1600

Needle lace border, re-attached to modern cotton.
Blackborne Collection 18 Read More

3. Tapestry, The Birth of Samson c. 1550

The first scene of a set of tapestries from The Story of Samson, in the style of Bernard Van Orley (1485-1542) a painter and leading Flemish tapestry designer. The style is influenced by the Italian High Renaissance, epitomised by Raphael’s designs for the Acts of the Apostles, woven in Brussels in 1519.

Woven tapestry, borders missing, wool warp, silk and wool wefts
Flemish (Brussels)Founders’ bequest TAP.6 Read More

4. Flowered silk brocaded in silver, 1750s

This sumptuous dress silk in a rococo design of flowers and silver ribbons has a self-coloured ground pattern of meandering lace bands and fillings. The thread is real silver strip wound onto a silk core. Silks woven with precious metals were therefore the most expensive.

Woven silk brocaded in silver and coloured silks with additional ground pattern.


Scrope Collection 1963.887 Tex42 Read More

5. Pieced Quilt c.1850

The wide range of dress fabrics in this quilt date from between 1820 and 1846 and probably specially purchased  by the maker, who lived on a remote farm in Weardale. The central chintz dates from the 1820s, the wave patterns and bright blues are typical of the mid 1840s and the border is late 1830s. It is quilted in traditional North Country designs.

Cotton, block and roller printed, quilting patterns include Wineglass, Clamshell, Star, Four petalled flower and outer Wave border.

British  Read More

6. The Empress Eugénie Collection including a Pair of Evening Shoes c.1854

The shoes are perhaps the most engaging of Eugénie’s effects; four pairs have handwritten inscriptions ‘S.M.L.Impératrice droit’ as at this time shoes were ‘straights’.  The left shoes each have a printed label for Viault-Esté.  This style, only suitable for indoors, were traditionally in black or white satin. The pale blue pair would have been ordered to match one of the Empress’s evening dresses. 

Silk satin, silk ribbon ties, cotton lining, leather soles.



The Empress Eugénie Collection, Wife of Napoleon III of France Read More

7. Evening gown by Paquin, winter 1911

A separate boned bodice and trained skirt of ivory satin, with an overdress of black and ivory silk net embroidered with black, opaque and white glass beads in an asymmetrical design.  The bright fuchsia pink silk velvet sash is a replica of the original sash which is fragile.  Inside the bodice is the woven twill waist band with the Paquin signature in pink and the words Hiver 1911. 

Bequeathed, via the National Art Collections Fund, by Mrs Gordon as part of a large bequest known as The Danesfort Collection of embroideries and furniture. 1963.285 (CST 511) Read More

8. Evening gown by Madeleine Vionnet, Model 4094, August 1929

Apricot silk tulle embroidered in silk floss and gold thread. Matching under-slip of crêpe de chine. 

The all-over swirling design of the embroidery is typical of Vionnet’s designs at  this date. The dropped-waist bodice is cut on the bias, and the skirt is constructed of four half circles, dipping at the back. 

Purchased in 2009 with help from The Art Fund, The Friends of The Bowes Museum, MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and a number of private donors Read More

9. Evening Dress by Victor Steibel 1958

In 1958, Victor Steibel moved from Jacqmar and opened his own couture house in Cavendish Square. Famous for extremely stylish and feminine evening wear, he was the donor’s favourite designer, creating her wedding dress for her marriage to Lord Barnard in 1952.  

Cream silk satin 
Victor Steibel, London Read More

10. Adam Tapestry and original artwork by Keith Vaughan, 1958

This tapestry was chosen by the Council of Industrial Design (CoID) for the Design Centre Award 1958. Manufactured by Edinburgh Weavers, it is a highly skilled woven interpretation of Keith Vaughan's (artist) original cartoon (artwork) which the Museum purchased recently.  They represent the successful collaborations that took place between artists and textile manufacturers during this period. 

Jacquard Woven Cotton/ Rayon Furnishing Fabric
Keith Vaughan
Edinburgh Weavers

Design Centre Award Collection 1961.167 Part of a Design Award collection in The Bowes Museum for 1957 - 1962

The Bowes Museum acquired the rare example of a working textile cartoon in 2010 with the support of £10,000 from the Art Fund, £7,000 from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and £5,000 from the Friends of The Bowes Museum. Read More

The Bowes Museum is closed!

Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Caf� Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

Do please remember, however, that the Museum�s park and grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 � 4.00 daily, and that we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, clues can be found here.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.